Interview transcription:

We interviewed Dr Penelope Pratsou to find out if there is any way to prevent Basal Cell Carcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma skin cancer. 

How can you prevent the skin cancer known as Basal Cell Carcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma?

Penelope Pratsou: There are two main causes for these types of cancers and that is having fair skin with blonde or red hair, blue eyes and skin that burns easily and is difficult to tan, and sun exposure. In reality, we can’t prevent the skin that we’re born with, but we can control excessive sunlight exposure. It’s a matter of sun protection. I would say there are three levels of sun protection: the number one level of sun protection is to keep yourself in the shade. That’s the best type of sun protection.

The first step to feeling in charge of your skin is to book an initial consultation


Penelope Pratsou: If you can’t do that, then I would advise that you wear protective clothing, and that could be in the form of a wide-brimmed hat. It could be long sleeves and long trousers and then beyond that, and only beyond that, we’d be talking about sunblock or sunscreen and you need a good broad range or broad-spectrum sunscreen, to be sure that you’re doing a good job protecting your skin from the sun.

All those factors are important in preventing your skin from getting sun damage or skin cancer but, of course, if you have got some sun damage, it’s important that you get this checked out, in order to make sure that this doesn’t progress.

If you have any of the symptoms or conditions that we’ve just discussed, we invite you to book a consultation with Dr Penelope Pratsou where she’ll be able to assess your condition and give you a suitable treatment plan.

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About the author

Dr Penelope Pratsou | Consultant Dermatologist

MBChB, MRCP (UK) (Dermatology)

I’m Dr Penelope Pratsou, a skilled independent Consultant Dermatologist based in Berkshire. I have specialist expertise in the diagnosis and management of all skin cancers, and in performing mole checks. I’m a trained skin surgeon and remove skin cancers, moles, skin tags, cysts and warts.

I also have invaluable experience in dealing with all skin conditions, from the common skin complaints of acne, rosacea, eczema and psoriasis, to the rarer and more complex skin problems, having seen it all through years of NHS work.

After I obtained my Membership to the Royal College of Physicians, I undertook rigorous specialist training in dermatology, before being appointed as a Consultant Dermatologist at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading. There, I helped set up and lead a busy clinic for the diagnosis and treatment of suspected skin cancer. I was also actively involved in supervising and training both dermatology and GP trainees.

Alongside my increasingly busy private practice, I have maintained an NHS practice in Oxford in order to continue to engage with challenging cases and to develop my specialist interest in skin allergy.